FACTORS IN INDUSTRIAL COMPETITION.
NOTE.—In 1899 I visited the large steel works of England, Germany, Belgium and Austria, and was received with, unvarying hospitality. I trust that nothing here written will be more than fair criticisms of my hosts.
SECTION XXIa.—The question of management.—It is common in America to smile over the non-progressiveness of our foreign friends, and many people believe we are especially commissioned by Providence to illuminate the world with our spare energy. We must consider, however, that there is a vital difference between metallurgy abroad and metallurgy here. The direct management of a works in America has in the past had practically its own way, for the directors looked upon improvements as inevitable. As for the stockholders, they are not supposed to inquire into details. In England they rise at the annual meeting and ask questions as to the money spent on new work and the returns derived therefrom, and if American managers were subject to this inquisition they might live a less forceful life. In England, improvements are not made from profits, but new capital is authorized when deemed necessary. There are exceptions to this system, but it is the usual custom. An instance is the case of an English works in South Russia, having a capital of $6,000,000. During a period of eleven years annual dividends were declared, ranging from 15 to 125 per cent. In 1900, 20 per cent., or $1,200,000, was distributed, but as it was necessary to extend certain railway lines, bonds were issued for $750,000, or about one-half the dividend..
An English manager contends against strong labor unions. There was a time when such organizations regulated affairs in many American works, but it was found necessary to suppress them. In 1899 I found some new construction work going on in Middles-borough. The contractors stated that the boiler makers worked only three days each week, earning seven dollars per day, and then